22 days Best of South America
Let Contours Travel show you the highlights of South America! See Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas; the stunning waters of Lake Titicaca;the exuberance of Rio de Janeiro's beaches, streets and people, the world's most voluminous waterfalls, Iguazu; and the cosmopolitan and seductive city of Buenos Aires
Day 1 Lima
Arrive in Lima Airport; you will be met by our English speaking local guide & transferred to your hotel, located in the seaside barrio of Miraflores.
Day 2 Lima
Depart this morning on a half day sightseeing tour of Lima, including a visit to the Larco Herrera Museum. Your tour includes the city’s most important monuments: The Plaza Mayor, Government Palace, the City Hall and the Cathedral. Torre Tagle, an exceptionally beautiful mansion built in 1735, today houses the offices of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Nearby, the recently renovated Palacio de Osambela, built between 1803 and 1805, serves as a venue for art exhibitions and cultural events.
The Larco Museum has the most important archaeological collection of the north coast of Peru and is located in an old Vice Royal mansion that was constructed on a pre-Columbian pyramid from the 18th century. This fabulous museum has also an exquisite collection of gold and silver of ancient Peru and a room full of erotic art. The pieces in this museum are now world-famous after having been exhibited in the best museums around the world. (B)
Day 3 Lima/Sacred Valley
Transfer to the airport for your onwards flight to Cuzco, capital of the Incan Empire. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Located at around 2,700m above sea level, the valley is a great place to spend your first few days acclimatising before moving up to the more challenging heights of Cuzco (3,400m). (B)
Day 4 Sacred Valley
Depart this morning on a full day tour traveling through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Visit the famous Pisac Markets, where you have a chance to experience the vibrant and colourful atmosphere of a traditional marketplace. After lunch, we continue to Ollantaytambo, the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the Americas. Located on the Patakancka River and surrounded by agricultural terraces, Ollantaytambo is one of the prettiest towns in the Sacred Valley. Return to your hotel with the evening at leisure. (B/L)
Day 5 Sacred Valley /Machu Picchu
Transfer to the train station in Ollantaytambo for your 90 minute Vistadome train ride to the deserted city of Machu Picchu, the most renowned example of Inca architecture. Today’s visit to magical Machu Picchu will undoubtedly be a highlight of your trip!
Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins & lunch at Sanctuary Lodge before taking a mini-bus back to Aguas Calientes where you will overnight. (B/L/D)
Day 6 Machu Picchu/Cuzco
Early this morning, board the mini bus for a second trip to the ruins with your entry included. As dawn breaks, watch the mist rise over the top of the mountain citadel, a truly unforgettable experience. Explore the ruins at your own pace before returning to Cuzco by train this afternoon. (B)
Day 7 Cuzco
Depart this afternoon on a half day sightseeing tour of Cuzco. Visit the Cathedral and Koricancha Temple, before continuing to the Pre-Colombian Art Museum with its impressive collection of archaeological pieces. Finally we head out of the city to the surrounding ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, Puca-Pucara and Tambomachay. The Cuzco Tourist Ticket, which gives you access to sixteen sites in and around Cuzco, is included in today’s tour. (B)
Day 8 Cuzco
Day at leisure to relax and explore. We recommend a stroll up to the artisan’s district of San Blas to visit the pretty adobe Iglesia San Blas and explore some of the handicraft workshops nearby. Despite its simple exterior San Blas Church contains one of the most impressive colonial jewels in the country- an intricately carved 17th-century cedar pulpit hewn from a single tree trunk and dominated by the triumphant figure of Christ. (B)
Day 9 Cuzco/Puno
Depart by bus this morning on a full day tour across the altiplano to Puno, situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Entry fees to local sites along the way are included. This daily service from Cuzco to Puno steadily climbs up the Vilcanota Valley towards the head waters of the Urubamba River and the highest point of the trip, Abra La Raya at 4321 metres above sea level. From Abra La Raya, it is a gradual descent into the opening grassy plains towards Lake Titicaca and towards the Bolivian Altiplano and eventually to down to the lake’s edge where Puno is nestled. (B/L)
Day 10 Puno
Depart this morning on a half day tour out to the famous Uros Islands. After short 20-minute trip out of Puno harbour, you arrive at the floating islands of Uros, where 300 Uros Indians live and fish on the man-made islands made entirely of totora reeds that grow in the lake. Enjoy the colourful traditional dress of the men and women and perhaps take a ride in s surprisingly stable totora canoe before returning to your hotel. (B)
Day 11 Puno/Sun Island
Depart from Puno this morning on a tour travelling around Lake Titicaca and across the border into Bolivia. You will visit the small town of Copacabana and then board a motorboat for the Island of the Sun. Here, you will enjoy a traditional ‘aptapi’ lunch and then have time to visit the museum and explore the terraced hillsides and Inca steps.
Hike to your accommodation at the Ecolodge La Estancia, built with the support of the local Aymara community from which it takes its name and a sustainable tourism project aimed at creating opportunities for local people. (B/L/D)
Day 12 Sun Island/La Paz
This morning you will hike down to the launch area, and board a motorboat to Copacabana, with visits to La Chinkana, Challapampa and the Island of the Moon along the way. From Copacabana you will be transferred by road to La Paz, the world’s highest capital city, and to your accommodation. (B/L)
Day 13 La Paz
Depart this morning on a half day sightseeing tour of La Paz, including the city’s fantastic street markets, rich in handicrafts, weavings and witchcraft artefacts. We visit the colonial part of the city, including San Francisco Church, the Gold Museum, Murillo Square and the outdoor replica of the Tiahuanaco temple, before continuing to the modern part of town. Finally, admire the natural geological formations of the Valley of the Moon. (B)
Day 14 La Paz/Rio de Janeiro
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Rio de Janeiro. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel, located along the famous Copacabana Strip, with the evening at leisure. (B)
Day 15 Rio de Janeiro
Depart this morning on a private full day tour of Rio de Janeiro with lunch included. The tour begins with a drive along the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon to the station to ride the scenic cog railway to the base of the 125-foot tall statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain. The train ride takes 20 minutes and is a wonderful chance to experience the lush tropical vegetation of the Tijuca Forest. Disembark at the top of Corcovado and marvel at the breathtaking view below before descending once again by train and head to a churrascaria restaurant for a bbq lunch.
After lunch, continue the tour driving through downtown passing by Rio’s traditional and historical sites. This afternoon’s highlight will be the cable car ride to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain for a 360 degree view of Rio including Guanabara Bay & its famous beaches. Continue to downtown Rio and visit the City Palace, Candelaria Church, Saint Sebastian Cathedral, Lapa Arches, Municipal Theatre, National Library, Fine Arts Museum, and the Sambadrome, site of Rio’s famous Carnival parade. (B/L)
Day 16 Rio de Janeiro
Day at leisure to relax and explore. Consider a trip to the beautiful Botanic Gardens, a tour through the surrounding forest and spectacular peak of Pedra de Gavea or a boat trip across Guanabara Bay to the Museum of Modern Art in Niteroi.
Day 17 Rio de Janeiro/Iguassu Falls
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Foz do Iguassu. On arrival you will be met and taken for a half day tour of the Brazilian side of the Falls. Walk along the paths inside the park and see the imposing Bozzeti Falls across the border. The path continues to the spectacular lookout over the Garganta del Diablo, or Devils Throat Falls, just 150m away. At the end of the path, you have the option of boarding a panoramic elevator for an even greater view of the surrounding scenery. At the end of the tour you will be transferred to your hotel. (B)
Day 18 Iguassu Falls/Iguazu Falls
After breakfast we depart on a full day tour of the Argentine side of Iguazú Falls. From the Visitor’s Centre we take an open train to make a 15-minute journey up to ‘Cataratas Station’. We walk along the Upper and Lower trails of the Iguazú National Park allowing you to get a closer look of the 275 Falls that drop from the Iguazú River and the amazing variety of ferns, orchids, begonias, birds and butterflies. Continue by train to ‘Garganta Station’ and from there you will descend walking 1200 meters to the Devil’s Throat balcony, to share one of the greatest shows on earth. Return by train to the Visitor’s Centre & transfer back to your hotel. (B)
Day 19 Iguazu Falls/Buenos Aires
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel with the evening at leisure.
Day 20 Buenos Aires
Depart this morning on a half day tour of Buenos Aires, known as the “Paris of the Americas” with its strong European influence. A city of grand architecture, beautiful parks, wide avenues and wonderful walks. The tour takes in the most important monuments and sights of the city, including Plaza 25 de Mayo, Government House (La Casa Rosa) and City Hall, the old neighbourhood of San Telmo, with its cobbled streets, the eclectic neighbourhood of La Boca and the portside district of Puerto Madero. The tour finishes in Recoleta, home to the famous Recoleta Cemetery where Eva Peron is buried. Return to your hotel. (B)
Day 21 Buenos Aires
Day at leisure to relax and explore the city on your own.
This evening you will be taken for Dinner & a Tango Show at the renowned Esquina Carlos Gardel; named after Argentina’s most celebrated tango icon. Enjoy superb cuisine in an exquisitely decorated art nouveau dining room as you watch today’s tango artists perform this sensual dance. (B/D)
Day 22 Buenos Aires
Transfer to the airport for your onwards flight or ask us about extending your time in South America. (B)
Seasonal surcharges may apply
Please note that Australian passport holders require a visa to enter Brazil which must be issued prior to departure from Australia.
Please note that airfares are not included- please contact your Contours Travel representative for competitive wholesale South American airfares & airpasses
- Lima's fabulous Larco Herrera
- Explore the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas
- More time at Machu Picchu with two entries
- UNESCO World Heritage Listed city of Cuzco
- Overnight on Sun Island at a community owned ecolodge
- Watch spectacular sunrise over Lake Titicaca
- Weird & wonderful products at the Witches Market in La Paz
- 21 night accommodation
- All transfers & touring as per itinerary, in private with English Speaking guide
- Cuzco Tourist Ticket (or "Boleto Turistico') with access to 16 sites!
- Return Vistadome Train Tickets
- 2 Entries to Machu Picchu Ruins
- 1st Class Bus Cuzco to Puno with Lunch and stops on the way
- 2 Day Lake Titicaca Crossing
- 21 breakfasts, 6 lunch, 3 dinner